Written by: Leslie Duthie, ELA Baord Member and Publications Chair
Season’s End Summit was a great success.
On October 27th The Ecological Landscape Alliance returned to in-person conferences and provided a hybrid conference held at the New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill, located in Boylston Massachusetts. Our theme for the Season’s End Summit was “Are we Getting it Right? Observations on the Ecological Landscape”. We had 5 sessions with 6 speakers including Annie White, Landscape Architect and University of Vermont professor, Sam Hoadley, Trial Garden manager at the Mt. Cuba Center, Pawel Pieluszynski from Brooklyn Bridge Park, Toby Wolf of Wolf Landscape Architecture in Massachusetts and Mark Richardson and Robert Graham of New England Botanic Garden. The presentations were exceptional and ranged from designing an ecological landscape, talking to clients about ecological solutions that have less impact on the landscape, plant relationships with pollinators, plant choices, managing the land in a less impactful way, and an interesting look back at an installation and lessons learned from a built environment. The conference offered new insights into ‘Getting it Right’ as we maneuver through a warming world and the need to find solutions.
The conference also provided an opportunity to meet with vendors for green equipment. In the move to use more earth-friendly, electric equipment there were representatives from: Makita, Stihl USA, Husqvarna, Mean Green electric mowers, and a local company, MTE Equipment, who demonstrated the Giant G2200E electric articulating loader, the newest in large, electric equipment. All our vendors were able to show off the latest in high powered, professional equipment for landscape companies. Everything from leaf blowers to string trimmers, and lawn mowers now available in professional-grade electric equipment. It was amazing to see the variety of high-powered equipment suitable for lawn care companies moving to a greener business.
We had over 75 people attend in person on a beautiful fall day at the Garden and about 40 people who attended virtually. As our first attempt at a hybrid conference, we had a few small glitches as we figured out how to provide a quality experience for both in-person and virtual attendees and speakers. Two of our speakers came to us virtually, while the other four were in person. As we move forward in today’s world having the ability to provide a conference in this manner will expand the reach of the Ecological Landscape Alliance around the country to around the world! ELA will engage speakers renowned in their fields from anywhere, provide content to members from around the world and reduce our carbon footprint. ELA recognizes that the smaller fall conferences are still a good place for professionals and community members to meet and network as well.
Thank you to all of our wonderful speakers and to New England Botanic Garden for hosting this event.